Given that 5.5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer's in 2017 and, in 2014, it was estimated that patients with that diagnosis comprised more than half of the population of U.S nursing homes, it's obvious that the disease is having an enormous impact on senior citizens and their loved ones. If your parent with Alzheimer's lives with you, you might already be aware of the unique challenges associated with that illness. One issue is the desire to wander away from the residence without notice or preparation. Therefore, it's often necessary to augment an existing door lock with extra security options and below are a few examples to be aware of.
Opting For A Door That Locks With A Key On Both Sides
While the use of a dead bolt lock is not new, it is not always common in some areas to have that feature that requires a key to open it from the inside. If you are concerned about your parent wandering off, that option could be quite helpful. You and other responsible adults within the home would keep that key on your person at all times.
However, if you choose to invest in a double-sided bolt lock, it's imperative for you to have at least one copy of that key hidden safely in the home somewhere. In addition, in case of an emergency, your emergency contact should have a copy as well.
Consider A Door Lock That Works With An Alarm
Since it just takes a few seconds for a confused person to leave the premises, it's essential to extend that time period and alert you of the attempt to open the door. Therefore, it's a good idea to consider the use of an alarm system. It could be coupled with automatic lighting that goes on if someone gets outside, which would be particularly useful if your bedroom or primary living space is very near the front door.
One option includes the use of a keypad and PIN code to exit the property, which frequently presents with the option of determining specific times. For instance, if your parent experiences Sundowning, in which he or she has behavioral fluctuations and sleep disturbances that often start when the sun goes down, you can set the alarm to be active during that time. Another version merely involves a magnetic door alarm that goes off anytime that the door in question is opened.
In conclusion, Alzheimer's patients are prone to wandering and, thus, to getting injured or lost. As a result, it's best to be sure that your doors have extra security locks to keep them safe, as shared above.